Every year on 7th November, World Cancer Awareness Day is observed to raise awareness about the early detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

This day was initially introduced in September 2014 by the union ministry, Govt of India in view of the increasing number of cancer cases in the country. It marks the anniversary of Nobel laureate Marie Curie’s birth and the development of radiotherapy as a cancer treatment.

With the launch of the National Cancer Control Program in 1975, India took a significant step forward in the fight against this deadly disease. Originally intended to provide the general public with cancer treatment amenities. The program’s goal is to emphasise early cancer detection and prevention.

According to reports, one woman in India dies from cervical cancer every eight minutes. 3,17,928 male and female fatalities from cancer linked to tobacco use were recorded. Over 25% of cancer-related fatalities in men are caused by lung and oral cavity cancer, whereas 25% of cancer deaths in women are caused by breast and oral cavity cancer. You’ll be surprised to know that around 70% of the variables that cause cancer may be avoided, and they include infections, poor eating habits, sedentary lifestyles, and exposure to chemical and atmospheric pollutants.

Since Cancer Awareness day is dedicated to wellness, the government encourages citizens to take advantage of free cancer screenings at local clinics, hospitals, and Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) facilities. With timely screening, malignancies can be found in their earliest stages and treated early for better survival rates. Additionally, several initiatives are organised on this day that highlight the importance of cancer prevention and early diagnosis.

The risk of cancer can be lowered by making healthy choices, and implementing some changes to your habits and lifestyle. Let’s know about a few effective tips to prevent cancer:

Effective tips to prevent cancer

Eat a wholesome diet 

Your health and well-being can be greatly improved by eating a balanced, healthy diet. 

Some of the following  diet-related recommendations can reduce the risk of cancer:

  • Have lots of plant-based foods, such as whole grains and legumes, as well as colourful fruits and vegetables. Eat leaner by consuming fewer high-calorie items, such as refined carbohydrates and animal-based fat, in your diet.
  • Consume processed meat less. Large portions of processed meat can extensively raise your chance of developing some forms of cancer, according to health experts. 
  • If you drink alcohol, do it in moderation. As chronic alcohol consumption raises your chance of developing breast, colon, lung, kidney, and liver cancer.
  • You can significantly lower your chance of developing cancer by following a Mediterranean Diet that consists mostly of plant-based foods, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and healthy fat sources.

Control your weight and maintain an active lifestyle

One of the most efficient strategies to lower your chance of acquiring cancers in the breast, prostate, lung, colon, and kidney is to maintain a healthy weight. While continuing to be physically active is important as it may aid in weight management and reduce the chances of developing breast and colon cancer

Aim for 75 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week or at least 150 minutes of low-intensity exercise each week, which is ideal for a healthy body.  

The general recommendation is to incorporate 30 minutes or more of physical exercise into your daily routine.

Get vaccinated

Studies have shown that a deadly disease like cancer can be attributable to many viral infections. There are vaccines that provide defence against certain viral diseases; therefore it’s a good idea to ask your doctor about immunisation against those infections:

Hepatitis B: Hepatitis B can increase the chances of developing liver cancer. Doctors advise certain high-risk individuals, including those who are sexually active, but not in mutually monogamous relationships, those with STIs, those who use IV drugs, men who have sex with men, and public safety or healthcare workers who may come into contact with infected blood or fluids, to get the hepatitis B vaccine.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV): HPV is one of the most prevalent STDs that can cause genital and cervical malignancies. To prevent the possibility of developing cancer later in life, it is strongly advised that boys and girls between the ages of 11 and 12 receive the HPV vaccination.

Have a responsible sexual behaviour

Use a condom or limit the number of sexual partners you have. The chances of contracting an STD like HIV or HPV increases with the number of sexual partners a person has. Anus, liver, and lung cancer are all more likely to occur in AIDS patients. 

Additionally, HPV may increase the chance of anus, penis, throat, vulva, and vaginal cancer, but it is most frequently linked to cervical cancer.

Regularly monitor your health

Regular self-examinations and cancer screenings for the cervix, breast, skin, and colon can increase your chances of catching cancer early when treatment is most successful. For the most effective cancer prevention schedule for cancer screenings, consult your healthcare professional.

Quit smoking

By quitting smoking, the chance of developing the majority of smoking-related illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease, can be reduced. Everyone’s health can be improved by giving up smoking.

A person’s health will improve considerably more if they quit smoking while they’re younger. In comparison to those who continue to smoke, those who stop smoking reduce their risk of lung cancer by 30% to 50% after 10 years, and within 5 years of stopping, they reduce their chance of oral or esophageal cancer by 50%.

Final thoughts 

Each year, millions of lives can be saved by putting in place resource-appropriate preventive, early diagnosis, and treatment initiatives. Simple lifestyle changes can prevent more than 50% of malignancies in the world. One of the main obstacles to an early diagnosis of cancer is the rarity of its unpleasant symptoms, which appear at a later, more advanced stage.

In India, breast cancer is the most frequent type of cancer among women. One of the main causes of cancer in India is tobacco. Above mentioned tips can be the first step towards building a cancer-free world. 

Also,  it is advised to have frequent preventive health checkups to keep an eye on overall health.

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